New campus chalking policy took effect this week

Following a public comment period, Iowa State's chalking policy went into effect Feb. 17. The policy permits chalking on many campus sidewalks "to announce programs, promote events, exchange opinions, share messages and otherwise express ideas," while also preserving university priorities such as public safety, protection of property and an aesthetically appealing campus. It applies to all university students, employees, affiliates and visitors.

Campus areas in which chalking is prohibited changed slightly from the draft to final version of the policy. The central campus restricted area shrank, from a broader area bordered by Osborn and Union drives, Morrill Road and Farmhouse Lane, to the central green space instead bordered to the north and east by MacKay and Curtiss halls, respectively. Added to the final list of restricted areas was the sidewalk immediately outside the Memorial Union south door.

As first proposed, restricted areas still include the Anderson Sculpture Garden near the Hub, Jack Trice and George Washington Carver plazas north and south of Beardshear Hall, Memorial Union north lawn, The Knoll, indoor and outdoor facilities used by Cyclone sports teams and health care facilities such as the Thielen Student Health Center, Student Services Building and Lloyd Veterinary Medicine Center.

The policy limits chalkers to using water-soluble chalk on uncovered sidewalks, and bans chalking on benches, bus stops, buildings, steps, trash and recycling bins, monuments and sculptures. It prohibits chalking that violates the student conduct code, federal or state laws and any other ISU policy. Consistent with other ISU policies, it prohibits chalking for commercial advertising or sales purposes.

An interim policy in place from early November through last week restricted chalking on campus sidewalks to registered student organizations publicizing an upcoming event open to all students. It also put limits on the content and length of chalked messages. The interim policy was prompted by an increasing volume of sidewalk chalking on campus last fall. Prior to the interim policy, Iowa State didn't have specific rules on chalking.